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Towards a Global Learning Society for Higher Humanity. Professor Tapio Varis UNESCO Chair in Global e-Learning University of Tampere, Finland World Universities Forum,16 January, 2011, The Hong Kong Institute of Education.

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towards a global learning society for higher humanity

Towards a GlobalLearning Society for HigherHumanity

Professor Tapio Varis

UNESCO Chair in Globale-Learning

University of Tampere, Finland

World Universities Forum,16 January, 2011,

The Hong Kong Institute of Education

Varis / Hong Kong 2011


Muhammad Abdus Salam (1926 – 1996) wrote on science, technology and science education in the development of the south. He said that science and technology are cyclical. They are a shared heritage of all mankind. East and West, South and North have all equally participated in their creation in the past as, we hope, they will in the future – the joint endeavour in sciences becoming one of the unifying forces among the diverse peoples on this globe

Varis Sevilla 2010

Varis Sevilla 2010



a shared heritage of mankind abdus salam 1926 1996
A SHARED HERITAGE OF MANKIND (Abdus Salam, 1926 - 1996)

The Greek Commonwealth

Chinese, Indian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Afghan period

Western science & technology (after 1100)

Central Africa, Maya, Aztecs etc

Science and technology are cyclical

Varis Sevilla 2010


nokian avoimen innovaatiotoiminnan verkosto
Nokian avoimen innovaatiotoiminnan verkosto

Laaja, avoin ja aktiivinen yhteistyö valittujen kärkialoillaan maailmanlaajuisesti johtavien yliopistojen kanssa.

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

new renaissance education www globaluniversitysystem info
New Renaissance Education(
  • The study of complexity has brought science closer than ever to art
  • Knowledge has gone through a cycle from non-specialism to specialism, and now back to interdisciplinarity, even transdisciplinarity
  • Art deals with the sensual world (media as the extension of senses) and the holistic concept of human being

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

new renaissance education
New Renaissance Education?

From the certainty of Galilei and Newton towards chaos theory, probability and relativity

Contextuality and complexity, change and uncertainty, fragmentary and holistic approach

The role of poetry, art, theatre and religion

New industries each needed new concepts and knowledge to be understood

Varis 2004


from international to global
From International to Global?

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

www globaluniversitysystem info

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

unesco wche 2009
  • Social responsibility of higher education:

“Higher education institutions, through their core functions (research, teaching and service to the community) carried out in the context of institutional autonomy and academic freedom, should increase their interdisciplinary focus and promote critical thinking and active citizenship”

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

unesco wche 20091
  • International cooperation in higher education should be based on solidarity and mutual respect and the promotion of humanistic values and intercultural dialogue.

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

contribution to a world civic culture
Contribution to a world civic culture

The objective is to create a peaceful, inter-dependent world which would be a good place for people to live. No one society can impose a universal order acceptable to all other societies. The creation of species identity that will encompass cultural diversity is a major challenge (Elise Boulding 1988 – teacher education)

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

from industrial to knowledge societies
From Industrial to Knowledge Societies
  • UNESCO (2005): there is a general agreement on the expression ”knowledge societies” but not of the content of it

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

knowledge for what
Knowledge for What?
  • Are we endorsing the hegemony of the techno-scientific model in defining legitimate and productive knowledge?
  • Should the term “Digital Age” be replaced by multicultural world?
  • The spirit of knowledge sharing and caring
  • New humanism

Varis / Hong Kong 2011


Media literacy and New Humanism

UNESCO Institutefor Information Technologies in Education

J. M. Pérez Tornero/ Tapio Varis


Varis / Hong Kong 2011

trends in technology and education
Trends in Technology and Education
  • Global trends and multicultural world: universal vs unique
  • Working-life realities: multicultural competence building, open innovations, open learning, financial restraints
  • Digital technology convergence: the need for media literacy
  • Learning at workplace, by coaching, and in institutions (formula 70%-20%-10%)

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

new humanistic awareness

Human being over technology

Critical to technology

Autonomy over global communication


Universal rights and responsibilities


Human being over theology

Critical to classic texts

Discovery of self

New world


New humanistic awareness

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

communication and media literacy
Communication and Media Literacy
  • The most important skills of the future would be communication skills in a multicultural world
  • E-learning in a narrow sense seems to have passed its peak and is on the decline. We are now moving towards a more societal or communitarian activity with social web, blogs, and wiki
  • Media literacy becomes a right to people

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

understanding media literacy
Understanding Media Literacy

Intercultural dialogue

Teaching ethics and values


Right of information

Freedom of expression

Family education

Interaction with the media

Regulatory authorities

Formal education

Informal education

Participation in the public sphere



Media education

Participation and active citizenship

Media Literacy

Solving problems

Reading and writing literacy

Audiovisual literacy.

Personal autonomy

Digital literacy

Critical thinking

Critical and creative abilities and skills

Creative and production skills



Semiotic and cultural skills

Technical skills

Informed selection


Varis Unesco/IITE 2010

Varis / Hong Kong 2011


Communicative skills

the evolution of digital literacy
The Evolution of Digital Literacy
  • Phase 1: Access and connectivity
  • Phase 2: Basic internet use and more sophisticated and sustainable digital competences
  • Phase 3: Critical thinking, trust, confidence and multiplatform use

- community building (social web)

- multicultural competence

Varis / Hong Kong 2011

global education as a concept
Global Education as a concept
  • means activity that guides towards the ethic of a world citizen, which in turn is founded on fairness and respect for human rights
  • supports growth into a critical and media-critical citizen with the knowledge and skills to succesfully act as a member of one's own community in a globalising world

Varis / Hong Kong 2011